Beacon Chain Update: Buterin Proposes Changes to Ethereum 2.0

Raul E. Jordan, the Co-Lead at Prysmatic Labs, a team of blockchain developers focused on scaling the Ethereum (ETH) network through sharding techniques, has said that the main idea behind the Beacon Chain is “you’re going to be able to deploy these little worlds that summarize how a blockchain works, how a state transition works, [and] how a smart contract works.”

Jordan, a computer science and biomedical engineering graduate from Harvard University, believes the Beacon Chain design, as proposed by Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin, will “make it a lot easier” for blockchain developers to deploy decentralized applications (dApps) on Ethereum.

He explained that software architects will not be required to re-learn new programming techniques in order to launch dApps (when using the Beacon Chain).

Beacon Chain, the “Heartbeat” of Ethereum 2.0

In statements shared with Coindesk, Jordan noted: 

Instead of having one giant machine run transactions one at a time…we can split it up across tons of machines across the world and run them in parallel.

According to Buterin, the Beacon Chain will act as a central blockchain that will coordinate the transactions processed by hundreds of other Ethereum protocol-based chains, referred to as “shards.” The Ethereum platform will transition to this type of network architecture after the launch of major system-wide upgrades associated with Ethereum 2.0, Buterin proposed.

Buterin: Beacon Chain to Store Specialized Smart Contracts

In addition to serving as a coordinator or the “heartbeat” of the Ethereum network, Buterin recently suggested that specialized smart contracts also be stored with the Beacon Chain.

As explained by Will Villanueva, a researcher at ConsenSys, a Brooklyn, New York-based Ethereum development studio, the smart contracts associated with the Beacon Chain are “not analogous to regular smart contracts you would deploy for your application on Ethereum 1.0. Those would live within the shard chains. In contrast, Beacon Chain contracts will represent execution environments or transaction frameworks as a whole.”

Jordan: Developers Will Be Able to Easily Transition to Ethereum 2.0

As noted by Buterin, the latest proposal recommends having “a relatively minimal consensus-layer framework.” This basic framework, Buterin explained, will provide the developers tools and environment needed to create “complex frameworks that give us all of the smart contract capabilities that we need on top as a second layer.”

Confirming that building dApps will not require developers to learn new skills, Jordan said: 

[Dapp developers] don’t have to change much about what they already know.

Notably, Jordan revealed that Beacon Chain contracts may be able to support an execution environment on Ethereum 2.0 that would be quite similar to the Bitcoin (BTC) network’s parameters and development framework.

Making Beacon Chain Contracts Expensive to Prevent Blockchain “Bloat”

In order to prevent network congestion or “bloating”, Villanueva suggested:

In practice, there should not be a plethora of beacon chain contracts. There should only be a few — especially at first.

To discourage developers from deploying a large number of Beacon Chain contracts, Jordan recommended making the process relatively expensive (in terms of gas fees). He explained: 

These execution environments are like their own little worlds that specify everything and ideally they’re going to be really expensive to deploy. Hopefully, tens of thousands of dollars.

On May 27, 2019, Buterin also suggested an update to the Beacon Chain proposal by noting that a “specific class of actor called a relayer” should be integrated into the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. This will allow platform users to better manage and coordinate transaction fees with the Ethereum network transaction validators (or block producers), Buterin said

Bitcoin Proponents Debate a Potential Hard Fork for Inflation

  • Bitcoin Advisory founder Pierre Rochard is asking bitcoin community to consider the implementation of inflation.
  • Rochard argues that transaction fees alone may not be enough to sustain miners in the future. 

Pierre Rochard, founder of consulting firm Bitcoin Advisory, has addresed a debate in the bitcoin community over whether transaction fees will be high enough to support the network’s continued use. 

Bitcoin Inflation Debate

According to Rochard, who is also a self-proclaimed proponent of BTC’s scaling solution lightning network, the community must question whether transaction fees alone will be enough incentive for miners in the future. As outlined in the original white paper, bitcoin’s total supply is limited to 21 million coins. 

While the final BTC is not expected to be minted until after the year 2140, the block reward will continue to decline over the coming century. Miners, who facilitate transactions and secure bitcoin’s network, will have to rely more upon transaction fees as a source of income, as BTC rewards continue to fall.

Some are now arguing that bitcoin may need to introduce perpetual inflation to remedy the situation, which would mean altering the original 21 million BTC total supply.

Rochard said, 

There’s an open question of will transaction fees be high enough – or in the aggregate total – enough to provide transaction finality...will bitcoin have to hard fork in inflation?

The Bitcoin Advisory founder asked the community to consider the state of altcoins, many of which operate on an inflationary protocol. Rochard acknowledged that confirmation bias may be clouding judgment in regard to bitcoin’s managed development and that the potential for inflation should at least be considered, 

There’s confirmation bias. We’re all very bullish on bitcoin, I certainly am, and so we want to pick out arguments and facts that support our position rather than trying to see all sides of a debate and have a more balanced view. Or at least have some level of uncertainty and self awareness in how much support we actually have for our arguments.

Future of BTC

Rochard pointed to an article written in 2015 by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ryan Selkis, under the name TwoBitIdiot, arguing that bitcoin needed inflation despite the controversy of the idea. He also pointed to the increase in block size from 1MB, which at the time was considered blasphemous to bitcoin’s protocol, as analogous to the idea of introducing inflation. 

Rochard concluded that the bitcoin community has “a good 10 to 20 years to argue about it,” before inflation becomes a pressing issue. 


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